Website Revamp

Sunday, 3rd March 2013

Hi, this is a notice to let you know that the website has undergone quite a change. You can tell already right?

Well, to save you the trouble of asking 'what has changed', allow me to give you a little run-down on what I've been doing over the past three months.

First of all, much of the code that goes behind this whole site has been re-written to optimise and standardize it.  It's all written in PHP, a language that basically asks the server to deliver to you a webpage that looks like the one you're reading now.  It's a bit complicated so I won't dwell on it. Just be assured that as far as I can tell, it seems to work well.

So, that's the 'under-the-hood' stuff, so how about you, the user? What do you get out of the new site?

You see that banner image at the top?  You'll get a new one of those every day of the month, so come back again tomorrow and see if I'm wrong.

The menu bar

The menu bar has been redesigned with the inclusion of graphics to give an easier depiction of the type of contect you expect to see if you click on an item.Menu Structure


See those little sections on the right hand side of the screen? Titled 'Recent Trips', 'Recently added Photos' etc... I call those widgets as I can't really think of anything else more appropriate, so for now, they're widgets.

To use these, simply hover your mouse over the widget and it should turn a garish green, and a small down arrow will appear. This implies that if you click it, something will happen. I'm quite sure that if you do click it, the widget should expand to reveal the contents. Go ahead and give it a try. Now if you like, I'm not going anywhere soon.


The Blog

Very little has changed on the blog area other than the addition of a 'like' and 'dislike' button which you're probably familiar with on many other websites. Go ahead and give it a try (at least click the 'like' button if you want to see if it works)


(not this one as it's just an image to show you what I'm talking about, go to the bottom of the blog entry and click it if you feel like you can't contain yourself and must try it out)

Birds & Mammals

As before, you can view our sightings and photos by lists or thumbnails. If you're already viewing a list and prefer to see the thumbnails of images corresponding to the selection you have made, just click on these links;

Thumbnails or Lists

One thing I wanted to add for a long time was a 'breadcrumb' feature that allows you to see how deep into the lists of places or species you have ventured. So I did it, and here you go;


Each crumb is its own link, so if you're viewing either the birds or mammals of Fraser's Hill, but want to back up to Pahang, or Malaysia, just click on the breadcrumb for fast access to that data. The number of species indicated is a measure of the number seen in that place. As in this example, Fraser's Hill, birds sighted, 124 species. But if you back up to Pahang, you'll see the bird count increase to consider all of the species we've seen in all of the places we've visited in the state of Pahang. And so on...

I've added more data about locations too which should hopefully help you out should you wish to explore one of these places yourself.

So, each location now consists of the following data:

GPS Longitude, GPS Latitude, Elevation (m a.s.l.), Habitat type.

Also included is a link that allows you to export the list currently being displayed to Excel, and a link that allows you to open up the location directly in Google Maps.

Location Information

Is that helpful or what?

If you're looking at the data in 'thumbnail' view, this means a collection of small images relating to the selection you've made, either by location or by taxonomic order, we will now show you if the image has been recently added (within the past two months);

New Image

The Lists

The lists have been overhauled a bit too. When you're viewing our data in list form, you will be presented with sub-sections for taxonomic grouping, starting with the order of species, followed by the family of which the species belongs.

The List explained

Here you can see the common name, scientific name, IUCN Status, regular image available, gallery image available, and whether Jasmine (pink) or myself (blue) has seen the species.


That's really about it. And after taking such a short time to summarize it, I sit here scratching my head thinking, how did that take 3 months to revamp!?

Well, for me it was worth it, the site is now easier to manage, the code is more refined, and I feel there's a few features in there that make it better than before. There's a more consistent look and feel to it and it's now CCS3 compliant, so all I can ask is that you make sure you're using a CSS3 compliant browser to view it (Safari, Firefox, Chrome and IE10).


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Blown Away at The Wash

Monday, 31st December 2012

The Wash

We headed out to The Wash in North Norfolk yesterday. The photo depicts a tranquil, gorgeous day. The reality, a non-stop bitter cold wind blasting against us. But, it was really lovely despite the wind. 

The photo was taken at the RSPB reserve in Snettersham and looks across The Wash, the northern part of East Anglia where several rivers enter the sea.

Looking out across the flats, we could see thousands of Eurasian Golden Plovers (Lifer!!) all glowing in the mid-morning sun.

Eurasian Golden Plovers

In the distance, a mix of Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshanks, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Herring Gulls and a lot of 'unknowns'.

The weather these past couple of weeks has been grey and cold, but we chose the best day to head out for a day's birding.

Down by the waters edge we had a couple of Eurasian Oystercatchers;

Eurasian Oystercatcher

and a winter plumage Herring Gull

Herring Gull, Adult Winter

Also in a field nearby were a load of Eurasian Curlew all digging for earth worms, and in the case of this one below, quite successfully;

Eurasian Curlew

and finally, for Snettersham, this pair of Greylag Geese;

Greylag Goose


After Snettersham, we headed off around the coast a little further to another RSPB reserve at Titchwell. More sheltered here, we were not so cold, the birds were closer and there were hides for us to take cover.

Titchwell Marsh RSPB

It was here that we had another couple of lifers, the cute little Brambling


and an unphotographed Pintail Duck.

As the daylight hours are so short here, Sunrise 08:05, Sunset 15:50 we were done by about 15:00 and headed home as the clouds and rain returned.

We had to stop off for an Indian (Chicken Vindaloo) to warm us up after that.

And guess what, it worked!! 

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We (Jasmine & John) are a pair of birders with a passion for photography, and for John, a bit of PHP/MySql web design programming to top it off.
We live in Malaysia which is where we do most of our birding, but as you can see from this site, we do branch out further afield occassionally.
Besides birds, we also do our best to identify much of what we see, especially mammals.
From a photography perspective, we also do our best to adhere to good ethics, by ensuring we cause as little disturbance to the lives of the subjects we observe.
We don't use flash photography (since deciding to stop using it in 2007), for several reasons. The first, we don't want to cause unnecessary stress to the birds (although it's not proven to cause stress, we just don't do it), and secondly, the available light with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens, makes the flash obsolete in almost all cases where handheld shots down to 1/40s can still produce crisp well-lit images. The image stabilizer is simply superb. Thirdly, flash photographs make the plumage look a very unnatural colour and can require a lot of processing in photo-editing software to naturalise the effect.
All photographs of wildlife on this site have been taken in the wild. No captives here.
This site serves as our list and photo repository, of which we are willing to share with you, and hope that you find it useful and occassionally entertaining.
Many thanks for stopping by.

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